4 Ways to Repurpose a China Cabinet

Turn an antique or vintage china cabinet into storage or display space.

estate sale china cabinet
"16.RND.ChinaCabinet.WDC.12mar06" by Elvert Barnes / CC BY 2.0

Owning fine china worthy of being displayed may have fallen out of fashion but that doesn't mean china cabinets need to be retired too.  Antique malls, flea markets, and consignment shops typically have china cabinets in a wide range of styles, sizes, and price points. Don't pass just because your dining room is already full. Well-made china cabinets make stylish storage and display pieces in other rooms of your home. Need some china cabinet ideas? Here are four ways to repurpose china cabinets:

1. A Fancy Bookcase

A book lover never seems to have enough shelf space, even if she has a home library or designated reading nook in the bedroom or den. If you'd like something a little different from a standard bookcase then a china cabinet could suit your needs. 

An attractive china cabinet with sturdy wooden shelves makes a great alternative bookcase -- and it keeps old leather-bound volumes dust-free behind the glass doors.

As a bonus, you can stash your trashy bodice-ripper romances behind the solid wooden doors of the lower section of the china cabinet. After all, you have to preserve your serious literary image to family members and visiting friends.

2. Display Collections, Curios, and Collectibles

Want to display your grandmother's collection of valuable antique vases or protect collectible dolls from your little one's tiny hands?

A china cabinet makes a wonderful curio cabinet. You can even put in small led lights to illuminate your collections.

Most china cabinets are much roomier than the tall, skinny curio cabinets typically sold new in stores. If you buy a vintage version at a flea market or antique mall, it will probably be sturdier than a new curio cabinet and it'll cost less too.

3. Add Storage Space to Your Kitchen

Few cooks will admit to having enough storage space in the kitchen. If a new addition or pricey remodel isn't in the household budget, there are simpler and less expensive storage solutions.

If you have the wall space in your kitchen or breakfast nook, one option is bringing in a vintage china cabinet. Just as it does in the dining room, a china cabinet gives you extra space for displaying your prettiest dishes. The closed doors on the bottom give you space to hide less attractive utilitarian items.

By adding a china cabinet to your kitchen, you'll free up priceless built-in cabinet space, as well as giving your kitchen a trendy yet functional piece.

4. Show Off Trophies and Awards

If your young child or teen has won lots of trophies and awards over the years, consider placing a small-scale china cabinet in her bedroom. It makes a  stylish trophy case where she can showcase the spoils of her accomplishments.

For that matter, if your adult partner keeps his old football trophies in his man cave or the family den, you may need a china-cabinet-turned-trophy-case in that space too!